Client: Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams - Executive Producer, Talent
Family sitcom The Ms. Pat Show, based on the titular comedian’s stand-up comedy and memoir, didn’t have the easiest road to BET+, executive producer Lee Daniels revealed during a the show’s TCA panel on Tuesday.
According to the Oscar-nominated director, the comedy’s creative team “went through the wringer trying to bring this to light.” For Daniels, bringing Ms. Pat’s humor and memoir to screen was a “no-brainer.” However, momentum slowed when trying to find a home for the series. The series was initially set up at Fox with a different writer during the 2016-17 season, then moved to Hulu in fall 2019 and eventually landed at BET+ in 2020.
“Years before, we tried to find the right writer, right visionary for it, trying fight studios and networks that wanted to do it but were afraid to do it because it was too black and was too real,” he said during the panel. “We have never seen a voice like this on television…it was forth the fight – years of fighting.”
The Ms. Pat Show, which debuted Sunday, August 12; follows former convicted felon turned suburban mom (Ms. Pat), whose hustle and resilient spirit were forged on the streets of Atlanta. To much reserve, she now finds herself in conservative middle America alongside her penny-pinching husband (J. Bernard Calloway), a struggle of a sister played by Tami Roman, and two distinct sets of kids played by Theodore Barnes, newcomer Briyana Guadalupe and Vince Swann, raised under very different circumstances. Daniels joined the series’ muse Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams and creator-writer Jordan E. Cooper to discuss the new BET family comedy.
Williams, who also serves as executive producer, said the comedy is a chance to open the doors to what Black families, specifically mothers, can look like on-screen.
“I’m just proud to be out front and a different type of mom where I don’t have to be chopping up vegetables,” she said. “Thanks to Jordan and Lee I became a real woman on TV. I’m a convicted felon and you get to see a side of a mom Hollywood doesn’t really want you to see, other than on Cops.”
“Her story is a lot of women’s stories, as opposed to dwelling in the negative and making it sad, she flips it on its head. We’re laughing with her. I knew we were onto something, white people didn’t know we were onto something,” Daniels added.
Daniels, Brian Grazer, President of Imagine Television Samie Kim Falvey, and Anthony Hill (who serves as the series’ showrunner) will executive produce, alongside Ms. Pat and Jordan E. Cooper, who also penned the pilot. Ms. Pat marks Grazer’s and Daniels’ first scripted project on the network.